FOOTBALL — 15 December 2012

Storylines: Each time this year the playoff picture begins to slowly align itself. With the Cincinnati Bengals victory yesterday, they were able to secure themselves a wild card spot. For teams such as Pittsburgh Steelers, Dallas Cowboys, and even the New York Jets whom find themselves in the playoff picture again after two straight victories, each victory or defeat may affect their chances of making the playoffs.

No one would have imagined that the Baltimore Ravens would be seen as a team in crisis, especially when they are currently the first place team in the AFC North. But after back-to-back losses which resulted in the dismissal of offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, things in Ravensland may not be as bright as they once were. This week they receive their biggest challenge of the year when they face Payton Manning and the surging Denver Broncos team, who have won 8 straight games. Expect this game to be an intense game with two very playoff bound teams.

Two weeks ago, no one would have considered the New York Jets in the playoff picture. But after two straight wins, Mark Sanchez and company find themselves in an interesting position in the AFC wild-card picture. They currently sit at 7-7, but with a win against the Tennessee Titans, they can find themselves one game back in the AFC wild-card race. Perhaps the other question in mind is whether the Jets recent success be enough to bring Fireman Ed back from retirement?

The oldest rivalry in football opens yet another chapter, as Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers vists Jay Cutler and a Chicago Bears team whose grip on the NFC North has loosened considerably following two straight defeats. Luckly for the Bears defense, they do not have to face Adrian Peterson again; however, they will have to deal with the potent passing attack of the Packers which includes receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. For the Packers, a victory gives them NFC North; for the Bears, a victory will help them keep in the NFC wild-card picture, which is being threatened by the rising Seattle Seahawks.

All of the Washington Redskins playoff hopes lie with their unquestioned leader Robert Griffin III. Yet the knee injury that he sustained in last weeks victory against the Ravens, may threaten RGIII’s ability to use the weapon that has been effective all season, his mobility. Though it was reported that RGIII was able to practice as late as Thursday, his status for Sunday remains questionable, many suspect that it may still be an issue when trying to run the playaction plays; more so, the Cleveland Browns defense may have the window needed to neutralize RGIII. This game will likely be one of the most intriguing games to watch Sunday, as a loss can be damaging to the Redskins playoff hopes; and if RGIII is less than 100% for this game, the Redskins may find themselves in big trouble.


NFL Week 15 Score Predictions

* Indicates Bold prediction of the week

* Giants vs. Falcons – There really is no logical reason for this pick. My instincts have me thinking the Giants defense will give Matt Ryan trouble all game long.

Broncos vs. Ravens – Even if the Ravens had Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb back on defense, Payton Manning would still be able to pick them apart; especially since the corners will have their hands full with Demaryius Thomas. Speaking of defense, the Broncos defense is one of the best with All-pro players such as Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller.

Packers vs. Bears – This game I believe will be a grind for both teams, but the Packers offense will be the difference in this game.

Redskins vs Browns – Even if RGIII ends up not playing, the Browns defense will still have to deal with receiver
Pierre Garcon.

Colts vs. Texans – Despite the loss they suffered by the hands of Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Texans still have one of the best defenses in the NFL. As well, the Colts have a habit of slow starts resulting in Andrew Luck having to bail them out.

Jaguars vs. Dolphins – The Dolphins despite their record have a very good defense, one which will benefit them in this game.

Buccaneers vs. Saints – If you like offense with very little defense, this is the game to watch. I believe Drew Brees and company will be energized from the ruling made from the bounty contraversy, and come out with a victory.

Vikings vs. Rams – This Rams team has been good as of late winning three in a row. The problem is that they have not faced a running back like Adrian Peterson, nor do I think they will be ready for him.

Lions vs. Cardinals – As hapless this season has been for the Lions, they have been competitive all year long. The same unfortunately cannot be said about the Cardinals whom suffered one of the worst one-sided defeats ever televised. I can say this much, there will likely be plenty of personnel changes on the horizon for both these team when the season ends.

Seahawks vs. Bills – This will be a very competitive game, but I believe the intensity and physicality of the Seahawks defense, will be a little bit much for the Bills.

Panthers vs. Chargers – The greatest asset this Chargers team has is not Philip Rivers, it’s their big, physical receivers whom made life miserable for the Steelers last week. Expect them to use Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander very often.

Steelers vs. Cowboys – Injuries have been an issue for the Steelers all year long. After last week, it was apparent that weakness on the number one ranked defense in the NFL, was their corners Curtis Brown, Cortez Allen, and Josh Victorian. With Ike Taylor still out with a serious ankle injury, expect Tony Romo to exploit the Steelers defense in the pass; even with Dez Bryant finger injury, they still have Jason Witten to use.

Chiefs vs. Raiders – Not very much to say about both these teams, the game will be what it is.

49ers vs. Patriots – Arguably the best team in the NFL is Tom Brady and the Patriots. In the last 11 seasons, they have barely lost in the month of December. After watching what they did to a powerful defense in the Titans, I can see them doing the same with the 49ers defense.

Jets vs. Titans – The Titans are a good team at home despite their record. As well I expect Chris Johnson to have a breakout game against the Jets defense.

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KelechiAnozie

An avid sports enthusiast for over 20 years. I am heavily involved in Kickboxing and other forms of recreational activity. I am honored to be a part of Elite Sports Tours and blog about sports. Follow me on Twitter - @kanozie80

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